The sensational adultery lawsuit against Archbishop Pius Ncube has an interesting new development. According to The Standard, papers were just filed in the High Court indicating that the charge of adultery has been dropped from the case against the archbishop.
The new charges, filed by plaintiff Onesimus Sibanda’s lawyer, request the ability to amend the original summons at the pre-trial conference or "any time before trial".
The amendment does not contain any adultery claims against Ncube, who has been a fierce critic of the government's human rights record and of President Robert Mugabe.
The archbishop’s lawyer, Advocate Nicholas Mathonsi, claims that the entire lawsuit is a state-sponsored attempt to discredit the archbishop and distract from the societal collapse resulting from the failures of President Mugabe.
In the original claim, Sibanda, a soldier attached to the National Railways of Zimbabwe, said he wanted 20 billion Zimbabwean dollars from the prelate for allegedly having an intimate relationship with his wife, Rosemary.
But in his revised charges, Sibanda does not mention damages for adultery and instead wants the figure broken down to $10 billion being loss of consortium (loss of company, affection, assistance and sexual relations) and $10 billion for contumelia (loss of comfort).
This follows an application by Ncube's lawyer to have Sibanda clarify how the alleged adultery was committed and also to justify how the claims were arrived at.
On Friday, Sibanda’s lawyer said that the amendment only sought "to correct mistakes that were made in the summons and declaration. Otherwise the claim remains the same at $20 billion".